With the 2021 holiday shopping season underway, it’s time to make sure your returns solution and process can accommodate the increased order volume many industry pundits are predicting—likely a 7% and 9% increase in 2021, with e-commerce sales specifically growing by 11-15%.
Since increased sales may lead to more returns, the retailers that are prepared with best-in-class return policies and processes will come out ahead in today’s competitive e-commerce marketplace. Use the following checklists to update everything from your return policy itself to the way you communicate it to your customers.
When was the last time you took a close look at your company’s return policy? If it’s been a while, review it now to ensure it’s capable of supporting a potential increase in holiday order volume. For instance, if you’ve promised to issue refunds within 2-3 business days, can you still guarantee that if your return volume increases significantly?
Even if you have updated your return policy recently, it never hurts to take another look. Increasingly, we’re seeing retailers differentiate themselves through segmented return policies that offer VIP-level service to specific customers. If your return policy hasn’t kept pace, you risk losing business to companies with more customer-friendly approaches.
If you’re a Narvar Return customer, once you’ve updated your policy, you’ll want to fully implement it:
One additional courtesy you may decide to extend to shoppers during the 2021 holiday season is an extension of your return window. Narvar’s 2021 Returns Benchmarks Report found that a 30-day return window is standard for Fortune 50, omnichannel, and direct-to-consumer (D2C) retailers.
However, supply chain challenges and shipment delays are expected to affect this year’s holiday shopping. Temporarily extending your return window may give customers more confidence that they’ll have ample time to receive, test, and ultimately decide whether or not to return their goods to you. Just be sure to reset your policy after the holiday season if you don’t intend to keep these and other changes long-term. If you’re a Narvar Return customer, you’ll be able to set up these temporary rules for your portal to apply only during the holidays and expire automatically — you’ll just need to update the text on your policy page.
In addition to taking the steps described above, the following recommendations can help you maximize engagement and positive communications throughout the returns journey:
Beyond updating your return policy, look for ways to make shoppers’ lives easier this holiday season. Increased vaccination rates and a strong desire to ‘get back to normal’ mean that many consumers will be returning to busy holiday travel schedules this year. Provide them with extra flexibility during the holiday hustle and bustle:
Finally, returns processing may seem dry, but there are plenty of ways you can delight customers and drive a greater ROI by extending seasonal content into your Narvar UI. For example, you could:
The 2021 holiday shopping season is shaping up to be a notable one for retailers and consumers alike. Get ahead of the game now by taking the time to revisit your return policy, updating it to reflect current circumstances, and identifying opportunities to delight your shoppers through holiday-specific content.
Shraddha is a product marketer with broad expertise across ecommerce, technology, retail, international trade, financial services, media and advertising.